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Just like the good bacteria in our gut, the flora of our vulva is unique to each of us. It can be influenced by our diet, contraception, sexual health, medication, fabric and hygiene products. Our vulvas are also subject to the natural changes of our menstrual cycle. When it comes to feminine health, selfcare practices can seem like an unattainable upheaval of lifestyle. Not so. Selfcare can begin with turning in and accommodating these changes with subtle yet meaningful additions to our routines.
Your menstrual cycle
The menstrual cycle is considered a vital sign of health. The four different phases of your cycle are hormonally dynamic. With small dietary additions throughout; fibre rich, fresh vibrant fruits and vegetables are key for helping to maintain the good bacteria in our vulva.
Phase one: Menstruation 3-7 days – the first day of bleeding is day one of your cycle
A time for tuning inward. Dim lights, slow flow yoga if you can, rest, omega rich foods.
Alarmingly, many sanitary brands on the shelves are a combination of synthetic fibres, chemicals and fragrances that can cause irritation or inflammation.
Now, with an array of 100% cotton pads and tampons, cups and underwear designed to support our periods on the market; it’s not impossible to find something that works well for you without compromising on comfort and effectiveness.
Phase two: Follicular – after bleeding stops approximately 7-10 days
Energy slowly returning, increasing hormones supporting the maturation of an egg
Dry or sticky cervical mucous.
Focus on: Fermented veggies and salads
Although we love our natural body washes, they can be heavily perfumed and not ideal for the flora of our vulva. If you choose to use any products for cleansing; ensure they are hypoallergenic and designed to not disrupt the delicate pH balance aggravating something like thrush. We love V Cleanse by OSEA
Phase three: Ovulation – 3-5 days
You may notice and increase in energy levels, increase in libido and a general vibe of getting shit done. Queue cardio.
Your cervical mucous can look and feel a bit slippery or egg white like. There might be more of it than other days. Underwear with a breathable fabric like cotton, can help to provide comfort.
Oil based lubricants can effectively help with vaginal dryness, like Holi Sex by Agent NatureFibre rich foods like salads and fresh fruit ensure your body can metabolise and eliminate any oestrogen excess.
Phase four: Luteal – 10-14 days
Estrogen, progesterone and testosterone reach their peak and then begin to fall. In the second half of this phase you may notice symptoms of PMS.
Slow your flow, think Pilates and yoga.
Root vegetables, leafy greens and vitamin B’s
Now is a great time for extraction clay masks and facials. Before bleeding begins again, maybe consider a few nights sans underwear with your pyjamas. Loose fitting fabrics like linen are breathable and cooling.
The first day of bleeding ends this cycle and begins your cycle again.
Aligning self care with our cycle is a great way to get to know your body, its ebbs, flows and it might help you to notice a particular feeling corresponds with a certain phase. Take note. If there is anything you wish to explore further, you’ll have a great starting point.
Romm, A. (2019) What a healthy vagina should smell like and the dangerous douche story you should know. Retrieved from //avivaromm.com/healthy-vagina-smell/
Vitti, A. (2020). Exercise and your menstrual cycle. Retrieved from //www.floliving.com/workout-routine/
Vitti, A. (2020). How to clear hormonal acne. Retrieved from //www.floliving.com/hormonal-acne/
Trickey, R. (2003). Women hormones and the menstrual cycle (2nd ed.). New South Wales, Australia: Allen & Unwin